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‘Do you consider 1,000 people, Punjab?’ CM Bhagwant Mann waters down calls for Khalistan, reassures law & order even as Amritpal Singh held state hostage

While CM Mann has repeatedly claimed that law and order was under control in the state of Punjab, in reality, the state has been pushed into lawlessness ever since AAP came to power. Even recently, as Punjab was being held hostage by Khalistani Amritpal Singh, Mann along with Arvind Kejriwal was in Mumbai discussing politics.

On February 26, Chief Minister of Punjab Bhagwant Mann claimed the law and order situation in the state was under control. He further added that the state Police are capable of controlling any anti-social elements. Speaking to the media, CM Mann criticised Amritpal Singh and his followers for using Shri Guru Granth Sahib as a shield during a protest outside Ajnala Police Station.

He said Amritpal Singh is being funded by Pakistan to destabilise Punjab and assured the state’s people are against the calls for Khalistan. However, the reports coming from Punjab and the way Amritpal Singh is rising to fame are not in sync with the statements of the Chief Minister.

While CM Mann has repeatedly claimed that law and order was under control in the state of Punjab, in reality, the state has been pushed into lawlessness ever since AAP came to power. Even recently, as Punjab was being held hostage by Khalistani Amritpal Singh, Mann along with Arvind Kejriwal was in Mumbai discussing politics.

KPS Gill in 2017 had sounded an alarm, saying that Arvind Kejriwal and AAP were espousing radical elements. IPS Kanwar Pal Singh Gill who was responsible for quelling the spread of separatism in Punjab had slammed AAP for providing a platform to the ‘radical Sikh diaspora’ which aimed to create a base to operate.  In an interview with The Indian Express in 2017, KPS Gill had called the 2017 Maur Mandi blasts ahead of assembly polls “very very serious” and that the Aam Aadmi Party is “not aware of what they are doing.”

KPG Gill had underscored that the Khalistan supporters abroad were looking for a window of opportunity to return to Punjab and work on their separatist designs, however, over the years they were not able to do so but with the presence of Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab, that window has opened leading to an influx of them from foreign countries. 

“Now with Aam Aadmi Party, there is an influx of them from foreign countries. They think this is the opportunity which is very good for them and they would be able to create a big base from which to operate”, he said. 

Gill also asserted that AAP has ‘unwittingly’ provided a platform to radical NRIs who have a sole agenda of spreading terrorism in the state. 

Funding from Pakistan

In his statement, CM Mann claimed that the likes of Amritpal Singh are getting funding from Pakistan and other countries intending to destabilise the state. He said Punjab has seen over a decade of insurgency, and the state police can tackle such situations. CM Mann did not reveal if the state has any concrete plan to tackle the rise of Khalistani elements. Notably, Mann, in a press conference in Gujarat when he gave the statement.

Mann said Rajasthan shares a larger border with Pakistan, but Punjab’s disturbance is being created. “Why do drones land in Punjab and not in Rajasthan? Because their masters are sitting there, they want to disturb Punjab,” he added.

‘Do you consider 1,000 people, Punjab?’

When asked about the calls for Khalistan, a sovereign state for Sikhs, he claimed that only a handful of people in the state are raising their voices for Khalistan. He asked, “Do you think 1,000 people (who have been seen shouting pro-Khalistan slogans) represent entire Punjab? You come to Punjab and see who are all shouting such slogans.”

‘Not Punjab’s Waris’

Speaking about the violence outside Ajnala Police Station, Mann criticised Amritpal Singh and his followers for using Shri Guru Granth Sahib as a shield. He termed it a “minor” incident and watered down the threats of violence issued by Amritpal Singh. He said, “This is khayali pulao (daydreaming). Punjab has seen such dark days in the past. The Punjab Police can handle them, and we will never allow anyone to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere.” He added, “Such people cannot be Punjab’s waris”.

While Punjab CM, some reporters and so-called experts claim it is just a ‘law and order’ problem in the state, the reality is far grimmer. Notably, it has been reported that following the violent incident at Ajnala Police Station, Amritpal Singh and his followers visited Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Thousands of people flooded the premises of the holy shrine just to get a glimpse of the rising pro-Khalistani leader. Amritpal Singh has extended support to different sections that call for Khalistan, including the terrorist organisation Sikhs For Justice founded by Gurpatwant Singh Pannu who is currently running Referendum 2020, a so-called voting demanding a separate country for Sikhs.

Furthermore, when we compare how Bhindranwale gained popularity in the late 1980s, it is similar to the methods being adopted by Amritpal Singh. From local panchayats and courts based on Sikh teachings to resolve problems to doctrines against “social evils” to save Sikhi, Amritpal is doing everything that Bhindranwale did in the late 1980s to establish confidence among the masses.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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